Saturday, February 1, 2014

Valentine Day pop-up card with LED

The dread of finding the perfect card with the perfect picture expressing the perfect sentiment for a completely contrived holiday made up for the purpose of selling cards is matched by the dread of receiving one insouciantly picked up from the grocery store where often the best cards are found.

I'm here to help you make a pop-up card for you to give somebody. I'm here to help you discover your inner creative streak, and tap that bitch, I meant to say tap into your inner creativity, that's what I meant. I will show you step by step what I do, what works for me, what I get away with, what charms the pants right off people and executed so abruptly and crudely you'll go, "I can do better than that."

Apparently light emitting diodes originated in rocks. Or crystals in rocks with special properties when touched with electricity. That is irrelevant to our card but I found it interesting.

5mm LED -- eBay.
2032 3V batteries -- eBay
ream card stock, 250 sheets, 110LB -- Amazon
Paint, either watercolor children's set or acrylic. 

You have half a month to knock out a card. There are two things going on here, either one would make a decent card on its own or multiplied but they are combined here for added pop-uppery fun and for increased depth because we abhor flatness. Nothing actually pops up, rather a heart-shaped platform fails to fall down and two arms arc across the page for 45˚ but they do not actually lift off the page. You will see it is all tricks. 

No soldering. It would be better more solid all around with wires and solder but instead to keep this simple an arm will shove the battery between the anode and the cathode wires.  The arrangement forgoes a current-controlling resistor. It's a card after all, not an heirloom toy.

A paper band is created to set across the central fold of the card.

The band will be formed into a step.

The paper band is in the shape of a step when the card is half opened.

The paper band is flat when the card is fully opened.

Two crimps will be dented into the step.

The crimps close inward and open flatly with the band. The movement in the crimps made by opening/closing the card powers the arms that move paper hearts and a battery.


This is the original, uncircumscribed version. The original was too long for AM radio airplay.

Superbowl Town Gets Ready (Open Thread)



They Found My Favorite Cocktail Lounge

They are Esquire Magazine, and they named my favorite cocktail lounge as number one on their list of the top ten bars in America.

This is good for the owner of the lounge, but bad for the customers. I'm selfish, so it's bad for me, too.  Notoriety brings too much attention; too many curiosity seekers; too damn many college kids who don't know how to behave in a cocktail lounge with grown-ups around.

Bryant's Cocktail Lounge is in an old, quiet residential neighborhood in a working class part of the city.  My wife and I began stopping there for cocktails when we were in our twenties, long before we met.  It's dark inside, velour on the walls, a cozy bar,  and nooks with tables and chairs.  There is no jukebox.  The owner plays standards over a McIntosh music system that has knobs and red lights and VU meters.  There are no signs, neon or otherwise, and no television sets.  There is no food, no bar snacks, no sandwiches.  Just cocktails, period.

There are no beer tappers, a very odd thing for a joint in Milwaukee.  Order a beer and a bartender or waitress will politely remind you that Bryant's is a cocktail lounge.  There are no drink menus.  The bar has a rolodex with recipes for more than 400 cocktails.  If you don't know what you want, they'll pick out something for you.

Now Esquire "discovered" Bryant's and made this video about the place.

We stopped for cocktails last night about 10:30.  The manager warmly welcomed as usual, and two places at the bar opened in a few minutes. We had a couple of cocktails, then a couple more. And enjoyed precious time for a happy, long talk about whatever was on our minds; in a dark, quiet bar, Sinatra, Bennett, Holiday, Mercer, Dorsey and so many others quietly playing and singing in the background.

Things were normal, a comfort to those who love this place.  The Esquire video hasn't resulted in the place being mobbed.  Things are good.

If you are in town, stop at Bryant's on a Tuesday night around 6:00 PM.   I'll be sitting at the bar, enjoying a cocktail.  If you see me, you can buy me a drink.  I'm friendly like that.  If you don't see me, just leave a ten dollar bill with my name on it.  John the bartender will know what to do.

Guest Post: "wanted to share the good news"

I've mentioned that I'm on a brand new drug therapy for Hep C. It's called Sovaldi, and it looks like it's gonna be a miracle drug. It's incredibly expensive unless you have good insurance, which I do for now.

I've had this virus for 36 years. After my transplant in 2006, my viral load doubled. I guess the little bastards saw the new liver as a buffet and started fornicating like rabbits. Anyway, viruses are incredibly small, so small that one ml of my blood contains about 1,300,000 copies of the virus - at least it did. After being on this drug for 2 weeks (one pill a day) I had my blood tested and got the news today. My viral count dropped to 114/ml. I'm in week 4 now, and probably have entirely eliminated it from my blood.

This incredible drug does this with zero side effects and no drug interactions. A true miracle invention. I will be taking it for 24 weeks if my insurance approves it for that long. They have so far. They have good reason to balk at just under $1000 per pill. I pay , not even a copay. I know, crazy isn't it? It has a 70% cure rate so far for people with my genotype which is the most common and hardest to eliminate. I'm very optimistic. This virus acts extremely slowly, but causes cancer eventually, first in the liver, but later lymphomas and others too.

If I get cured of this after 36 years, I'll be fucking stoked. I've spent so much time, energy and misery fighting it and it's effects for so long. I suppose if I do get a cure, I'll get hit by a bus the next day.

Anyway, I'm just as pleased as a boy can be, and wanted to share the good news. Have a great weekend all. I know I will.

Commenter Bagoh20

"You know what the best predictor of future behavior is? Past behavior."

Excerpts of a National Review editorial "Wrong on Principles".

"The way to do enforcement first would be to pass enforcement bills and leave it at that. If the Senate passes them and the president signs them and subsequently enforces them after they survive legal challenge, well, then you have enforcement first. But everyone knows that none of this would happen — such bills wouldn’t pass the Senate, or even get a vote if Harry Reid had anything to say about it. And even if they did and the president signed them, no one can have any confidence that he would enforce them."

"For some reason, House Republicans have fastened on eventual citizenship as the key issue. It isn’t. What will matter most to the illegal population is getting legalized. The experience of the 1986 amnesty was that most formerly illegal immigrants didn’t take advantage of the opportunity to become citizens. And it is the legalization itself that will act as a magnet to new illegal immigrants. They will take notice that we eventually welcome anyone who manages to come here to live and work in defiance of our laws."

This post title quote is a line from the movie Side Effects (2013), now streaming on Netflix.


Where we aim to please.

Free Will Astrology by Rob  Brezsny
horoscopes for week of January 30, 2014

Aries (March 21-April 19)

On my fifteenth birthday, I finally figured out that eating dairy products was the cause of my chronic respiratory problems. From that day forward, I avoided foods made from cow's milk. My health improved. I kept up this regimen for years. But a month ago, I decided to see if my long-standing taboo still made sense. Just for the fun of it, I gave myself permission to gorge on a tub of organic vanilla yogurt. To my shock, there was no hell to pay. I was free of snot. In the last few weeks, I have feasted regularly on all the creamy goodies I've been missing. I bring this up, Aries, because I suspect an equally momentous shift is possible for you. Some taboo you have honored for a long time, some rule you have obeyed as if it were an axiom, is ripe to be broken. 

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

Psychologist Daniel Kahneman, who won a Nobel Prize in Economics, says that consulting experts may be useless. In his study of Wall Street traders, he found their advice was no better than information obtained by a chimpanzee flipping a coin. Meanwhile, psychologist Philip Tetlock did a 20-year study with similar results. He found that predictions made by political and financial professionals are inferior to wild guesses. So does this mean you should never trust any experts? No. But it's important to approach them with extra skepticism right now. The time has come for you to upgrade your trust in your own intuition. 

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

I'm a big fan of logic and reason, and I urge you to be, too. Using your rational mind to understand your experience is a very good thing. The less stock you put in superstitious head trips and fear-based beliefs, the smarter you will be. Having said that, I recommend that you also make playful use of your creative imagination. Relish the comically magical elements of your mysterious fate. Pay attention to your dreams, and indulge in the pleasure of wild fantasies, and see yourself as a mythic hero in life's divine drama. Moral of the story: Both the rational and the fantastical approaches are essential to your health. (P.S. But the fantastical needs extra exercise in the coming weeks.) 

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

Sorry, Cancerian, you won't be able to transform lead into gold anytime soon. You won't suddenly acquire the wizardly power to heal the sick minds of racists and homophobes and misogynists. Nor will you be able to cast an effective love spell on a sexy someone who has always resisted your charms. That's the bad news. The good news is this: If you focus on performing less spectacular magic, you could accomplish minor miracles. For example, you might diminish an adversary's ability to disturb you. You could welcome into your life a source of love you have ignored or underestimated. And you may be able to discover a secret you hid from yourself a long time ago. 

Leo (July 23-August 22)

Cosmopolitan magazine is famous for offering tips on how to spice up one's sex life. Here's an example: "Take a few of your favorite erotically appealing flavor combinations, like peanut butter and honey or whipped cream and chocolate sauce, and mix up yummy treats all over your lover's body." That sounds crazy to me, and not in a good way. In any case, I recommend that you don't follow advice like that, especially in the coming days. It's true that on some occasions, silliness and messiness have a role to play in building intimacy. But they aren't advisable right now. For best results, be smooth and polished and dashing and deft. Togetherness will thrive on elegant experiments and graceful risks. 

Paula, I am impressed with your father.

Leo: Manuel, for you to be on our crew, you have to cut it between 2 and 3 seconds. We'll see if you can be part of our team.

boss: How long have you been in the United States? 

Leo: Since I was two.

boss: I came here eleven years ago. To the United States, you know, I got my green card, I just got my citizenship last year.

Leo: Oh nice.

boss: Have you thought about citizenship in the United States? That's really important to…

Leo: Oh no, yeah. 

boss: Because that was really important for my family

Leo: Nice.

boss: We have two boys and we knew it was very important to get citizenship.

Leo: I got one daughter.

boss: How old?

Leo: Six.

boss: Six?

Leo: Yeah.

boss: Are you going to have more children?

Leo: No. A matter of fact, I adopted. 

boss: Oh really, you adopted? Ooooh!

Leo: She was two yeas old. 

boss: What's your daughter's name?

Leo: Paula.

The video is cued to the segment with Leo. It is the full episode of Undercover Boss, USA Chiquita Brands. I am deeply impressed with this individual, a manager who supervises the lettuce harvest. Later in the show his humanity is truly humbling. The team works with a cleaning and packing machine. The field supervisor is talking to his boss. This portion seems a bit staged, Leo must know this is not an average field worker, but it drives the point very well. They could not have chosen a better person to represent. 

As represented these are the people I welcome. I do not understand why Leo has not pursued U.S. citizenship, it seems the reasonable thing to do. It seems like he wants it, and could attain it with or without help. I do not see the problem. Exactly where is the problem? 

Paul Ryan the strongest supporter for a path toward legalization appears to have been possessed of change of heart somehow. Some pressure from parts unknown. 

But business is still saying:
Bullshit. It never stops. Cheapskate profiteers. Unpatriotic. Such caterwauling.  Collectively they have the resources to train whoever they want for whatever they want. So do it and shut up. Apparently they need to be made to train their own employees themselves or pay for it themselves. Or else wait patiently until they come along in the right numbers to suit them. Provide the education they keep saying they require and stop bending the rules all over the place to the tremendous disadvantage of the nation's working class. Step up and take responsibility and help shape the society they say that they want. 

They make themselves less sympathetic too when it comes to the bizarre 99% VS 1% talk about just taking their boats and their planes and their watches that can buy a six-pack of Rolexes. It is not possible to protect ALL of your houses and all your vehicles and all your possessions all at once, you know. There needn't be any broken crystal to throw you overboard.

There may be something for Leo and for immigrant techs as far as expedited pathways to citizenship, just make sure you do not stick it to American workers. Again.

Friday, January 31, 2014


Ozzy Osbourne appeared briefly onstage with Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler the other night on the Grammys:

I used to love Black Sabbath. But by the time I got to see them -- in 1974 -- they could barely put on a show. They showed up over an hour late at their Madison, WI show and played for less than that. My most vivid memory (from safely off to the right up in the stands) is the lights abruptly coming back up after 45 minutes or so and the angry mob of drunken fans refusing to leave. A well-aimed, empty liquor bottle struck Bill Ward's bass drum and bounced off. Black Sabbath had sodded off, never to return. I was pissed off -- $4.50 was a lot of money to me then -- equivalent to $25 or so today.

Ozzy explains what was going wrong behind the scenes at the time:

(The clip is from Penelope Spheeris' epic "The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years").  Watching Ozzy cook bacon and pour orange juice is worth the click.

Black Sabbath still can't seem to reconcile with original drummer Bill Ward. My cursory read is that they badly mistreated him over the years and still enjoy doing so. Screw them. I won't forgive them or give them another dime until they do. Nobody lives forever, so kiss and make up.

‘Evidence Exists’ Christie Knew About Lane Closings

"In a letter released by his lawyer, the former official, David Wildstein, a high school friend of Mr. Christie’s who was appointed with the governor’s blessing at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which controls the bridge, described the order to close the lanes as “the Christie administration’s order” and said “evidence exists as well tying Mr. Christie to having knowledge of the lane closures, during the period when the lanes were closed, contrary to what the governor stated publicly in a two-hour press conference” three weeks ago."

What do they say?

It's not the crime, it's the cover-up.


"Getting To Know The Voices In Your Head"

"A few months back, while riding the subway, some words fell out of my mouth: “No, no, don't worry about it.” Addressing no one but myself, I blurted this phrase while mentally replaying an earlier, embarrassing conversation. Although I have occasionally muttered out loud when alone, this was the first instance in such a public space. No one seemed to care or even notice. Still, I could not help wondering whether my mind was drifting too far from the familiar realm of the functionally neurotic. Was I spending too much time in my own head, obsessed with soliloquy?"

"To my relief, it turns out that just about everyone talks to themselves, both out loud and silently, much of the time. The habit begins in childhood with what psychologists call private speech: speaking to oneself aloud while playing with a favorite action figure, for example, or making bunny ears out of shoelaces. As we age, most of us converse with ourselves out loud much less often, but at least a couple of studies suggest that most adults and adolescents sometimes speak to themselves audibly. In a 2006 study by psychologist Adam Winsler of George Mason University and his colleagues, 46 of 48 women admitted that they murmured to themselves now and then. And we all talk to ourselves silently throughout life. Psychologists call this type of thought inner speech or self-talk, and it occupies about one quarter of conscious experience."

If you want to read the rest of this Scientific American article you will have to register and pay a fee.

"Doesn’t Anyone Read the News?"

"If analysts at Microsoft Research are correct, a startling number of American Web users are no longer paying attention to the news as it is traditionally defined. In a recent study of “filter bubbles,” Sharad Goel, Seth Flaxman, and Justin Rao asked how many Web users actually read the news online. Out of a sample of 1.2 million American users, just over fifty thousand, or four per cent, were “active news customers” of “front section” news. The other ninety-six per cent found other things to read."
Various influences shaped the study. The data was collected only from Internet Explorer users (who, the authors say, tend to be slightly older), and it represents only those who agreed to make their Web-browsing history available. Additionally, just because people don’t surf news Web sites doesn’t mean that they don’t get news from other sources, like physical newspapers, talk radio, Twitter, “The Colbert Report,” or the evening news.

That said, the sample size, 1.2 million, is impressive—far greater than that of a typical survey. And the number of people whom the study shows to be paying attention to the news online is consistent with the low ratings of cable news during the same period. Also, as opposed to relying on what people said they did, the Microsoft researchers drew on a record of what they actually did, which is significantly different...

Assuming that Microsoft’s numbers show a real phenomenon, though, they do introduce some perspective. Journalists and political junkies often presume that everyone cares about politics all of the time. But the fourteen-per-cent number makes it seem more like a hobby or a subculture, something like the N.H.L. or Nascar—a deep obsession for some of members of the population but of limited interest to anyone else, unless something extreme happens.
The New Yorker Magazine

Will she run for a 14th term?

"Democrats need to net 17 seats to hand Pelosi the gavel, and analysts expect little movement, with President Obama's low approval ratings and redistricting reducing the number of competitive districts.
The decisions by Pelosi's California allies also raise the prospect that the minority leader herself could decide to retire—if not this year, then in the near future. (On previous occasions, Pelosi has said she's running for a 14th term.) She's played an active role in helping her party fundraise to take back the House, and she has shown no signs of slowing down. But California's filing deadline is more than a month away (March 7), giving her time to change course.

In a statement released this afternoon, Pelosi reiterated she is running for another term.

"I'm running. I've already started the paperwork process. My work is not finished," she said.
...Before the 2012 nonpartisan redistricting, most House seats in California were gerrymandered to the point where most members stayed in their seats indefinitely. (Before the last election, the average tenure among California members of Congress in 2012 was just under 16 years.) Many of the more senior members developed close ties with Pelosi, and sought to move up the congressional leadership chain instead of pursuing statewide political office.
...That's changed recently, thanks to a redistricting shake-up and Democratic efforts to recruit younger, more diverse talent to the state. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee made a concerted effort in 2012 to recruit a diverse crop of outsiders, bringing in newcomers such as emergency physician Raul Ruiz and Mark Takano, the first openly gay person of color to hold a seat in Congress."

Here's a little background on her from a well-written 2009 article that contains some well-placed Taibbi-esque jabs, but without the overkill:

"After all, for Pelosi, vote counting is something you do with people you love. She’s the seventh child and only daughter of Thomas “Big Tommy” D’Alesandro Jr., a slick dresser who wore diamond rings on each of his pinkies and began representing Little Italy in Maryland’s House of Delegates at 22, followed by five terms in Congress and three as Baltimore’s mayor. (When asked about his rival in one election, D’Alesandro said, “I don’t know [who he is], but it’s some no-good son of a bitch, that’s all I can tell you.”) Nancy’s childhood home functioned as D’Alesandro’s auxiliary office, with a portrait of FDR in the living room, copies of The Congressional Record stored under her bed, and an open door for constituents searching for jobs, permits, stop signs. The kids manned the front desk, Mom stirred a pot of stew for the hungry, and the blessings that constituents received were written on index cards, then organized into a “favor file.”

After graduating from Trinity College, a girls’ school in D.C., Pelosi married a financier, with whom she then moved to Manhattan—“I love the way the adrenaline just comes up through the ground in New York,” she says—and then San Francisco, when her husband was offered a job at a bank that was lending to tech companies beginning to spring up in Silicon Valley. She began to host Democratic fund-raisers in her home to meet the new community. “Moving to San Francisco at that time, it wouldn’t have been unreasonable for her to trip, but she’s as straight as can be,” says Marc Sandalow, author of Madam Speaker, another biography of Pelosi. Jerry Brown, a high-school acquaintance of her husband’s, needed help running against Jimmy Carter in the 1976 primaries, and Pelosi offered to set him up in Maryland. He carried the state, and she was awarded a seat on the Democratic National Committee for her efforts, quickly rising through the ranks by formidable fund-raising skills and helping to organize the 1984 convention in San Francisco. She ran for national party chairman, but withdrew when she realized that she didn’t have the votes. It’s the only election she hasn’t won in her political career. “People tell me that I was the best-qualified candidate,” she grumbled at the time. “But some of them tell me it’s too bad that I’m not a man.”"

New York Magazine

... or best offer

I never do that. Never. EBay. I just pay them.

I broke another 30W CFL. They're great for photography but they stick out from regular lamp sockets and tend to break. Tend to break when they're slammed around hard as I do. Last time I bought four 30W CFL curly bulbs for $9.00 each and that was the highest wattage and the lowest price I could find. With shipping, $40.00.

Since breaking three of them I've been using 100W incandescents from the 100W incandescent light bulb mountain, purchased in advance of our -- broadening of choice.

And then I saw 42W CFL mentioned and that rekindled my interest because it is even better than 30W CFL. I need two, but two extra would be good for backup. I'm willing to pay $10.00 each.

[A friend dropped by with a co-worker one day as I was assembling a wooden frame in my apartment. They asked what it was for and I told them a frame for tomato plants I was starting in an Earth Box in the back bathroom. The frame was five feet tall and the two people laughed their butts off at the ridiculous optimism of tomato plants growing that tall from seeds. Turned out the plants outgrew the frame that was extended with bamboo pieces and the plants could not fit through the door. They grew seven feet tall powered by two 30W CFL bulbs before taken out to the balcony in Spring.]

I notice on eBay the cost for 42W CFL is all over the place. Generally about $8.50 thereabouts for one or for two bulbs, and I am pleased with that price. The price goes down with quantity and the best price I see is $60.00 for 25 bulbs but that is way too many 42W CFL curly lightbulbs.

But I was willing to pay $40.00 for four.

And that cost discrepancy puts me on the teeter-totter of indecision.

And I thought,
"One: then I would have two outrageous overkill light bulb mountains.
Two: that is a lifetime supply, far more than I need.
Three: I live in Colorado, this activity is immediately suspect.
Four: I wouldn't blink at $50.00.
Five: I dare myself to risibly lowball an offer and invite abrupt rejection.
Six: that would be $2.00 each."

Just give me your lightbulbs!  Offer $50.00.

Offer accepted.

Conclusion: I should dare myself more often, and try even lower.

"McDonald's worker's Happy Meals had a bit extra: heroin, authorities say"

"A McDonald's employee in Pittsburgh was arrested Wednesday after undercover police officers said they discovered her selling heroin in Happy Meal boxes, according to a criminal complaint."
Shantia Dennis, 26, was arrested after undercover law enforcement officials conducted a drug buy...

Customers looking for heroin were instructed to go through the drive-through and say, "I'd like to order a toy." The customer would then be told to proceed to the first window, where they would be handed a Happy Meal box containing heroin...

Dennis is charged with two counts of possession, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, one count of prohibited acts of delivery and one count of possession with intent to deliver.

Friday Levity


You cannot watch this video without laughing so hard that tears come to your eyes.


Where we dance with the west wind.

What's on your mind this fine Friday?


Three things that John Fogerty did first:

  • Invented the wearing of flannel shirts (way before Kurt Cobain);
  • Wrote songs that crossed the color barrier (in reverse)
  • Promoted bad helmet haircuts

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Guest Post: "Rough Track from Weekend Session"

"Old Dawgz lead vocalist and bassist, John Filipponi, dropped by Chez Howlin' Steve this weekend to put down some tracks on my Zoom R24. Here's the first rough edit out of that session... The Marshall Tucker song, Can't You See."

"Johnny and I have been harmonizing for four years! We follow one another so effortlessly. I've listened to this track a couple of dozen times. Voices of the angels. (And, of the devils.)
When my wife, Myrna, passed away, I thought that this aspect of my life, singing in close harmony, had ended. Johnny has been a Godsend."

"Big Joe will be adding vocal backups and lead guitar to this track. The Old Dawgz are still in the process of deciding which tunes will make the new CD. I just wanted to include my readers in on the process."

Harleys, Cars, Girls & Guitars

Amenobamahotep IV

Jay Caruso's goof on making a new avatar for Mark Murray that Ace linked reminded me of something immediately. 

The name belongs to Akhenaten, King Tuts dad before his dad's fifth year of reign and before he changed his name from Amenhotep and moved the capital from Thebes to his new city of Amarna. Tut's dad changed the religion by cutting off the priesthoods and directing the wealth of the country to his new priesthood. Akhenaten upset the balance of Maat throughout the land. The land in the shape of a snake. Completely disrupted the priesthood system thereby disrupting the entire economy, the whole thing, priesthood, beliefs, economy are inextricably linked. Nothing worked properly. The nation  floundered, except for the capital city, Amarna.

A similar colossus is part of the traveling Tut exhibition that landed next door for months. I took everyone I knew there who would go. Called up old friends. (Surprising to me how many had excuses not to go.) Surprising too how many American blacks I know do not know nor care that Egypt is serious black history. One fellow who used to live on my floor that did go was amazed to recognize African features among the statuary of Tut's relatives. To my tremendous embarrassment he reached out and touched the stone statues, the African-looking statues included to describe Tut's time in the galleries leading to the galleries devoted specifically to Tut's tomb. And the alarms did not go off, and the guards all around did not intervene. I said, "Don't touch those." But he could not resist, and the guards did not bother him. The guards wanted him to touch the statues. 

The very next day I am asked to move back by the guards from pointing to specific hieroglyphics on Horemheb's stele.


One lady I took there, a religious person, upon seeing this colossus in the fourth gallery said, "Isn't it amazing their religion stayed the same for that whole time?" 

I said, "Yeah." 

But it did not stay the same. The characters changed all over the place, continuously, in fact, that whole time taking on fresh attributes from new sources, combining attributes, amalgamating entire deity attributes, sharing attributes, combining by syncretism as fortunes of individual city-states rise and fall that the deities are associated with, and the myths evolve with them.

[When it comes to Egyptian "H," you must decide which "H" sound you want. 

The emphatic H, like I did here.
The pharyngeal H like Arabic, or Hebrew
The voiceless velar fricative like German "ach" ]

Deep Inside: A Study of 10,000 Porn Stars And Their Careers

For the first time, a massive data set of 10,000 porn stars has been extracted from the world’s largest database of adult films and performers. The article's author Jon Millward spent the last six months analyzing it to discover the truth about what the average performer looks like, what they do on film, and how their role has evolved over the last forty years.
I can’t recall how I first heard about the Internet Adult Film Database—the self-proclaimed ‘premier resource for information about the American porn community on the web’, but for the longest time I knew I wanted to plunder its treasure trove of juicy information. It holds the records of over 120,000 porn films and 115,000 adult performers and is the adult equivalent of the Internet Movie Database. In a nutshell, if you’re a fan of porn or porn stars and want to look up almost anything to do with either—whether it’s the release date of Dude, I Banged Your Mother 6, or the first time Courtney Cummz had sex on film with a black man—you go to
Fast forward a year and I’d found a way to (somewhat nefariously, but with honourable intentions) extract thousands of records from the database. Now the treasure trove was split wide open and reams of information was spilling forth into my Excel spreadsheets—names of performers, their heights and weights, their races, the sex acts they perform on film…everything. Finally I was able to scrutinize adult performers in a way no man, despite regular attempts to do so, had ever managed before, and find out once and for all which stereotypes about porn stars are true, which are bogus, and what these men and women have been doing for the last forty years. The results of my analysis, apart from the article you’re reading now, are the biggest infographic I’ve ever created (definitely check out it out if you’d like a colourful overview of every single result) and a pretty comprehensive report on the whole endeavour, both of which you can see at the bottom of this article.
Here's a link to Jon Millward's article.  It is an interesting read, and in case you're concerned about opening it, there are no photos, no video clips, and no pop-ups.

“They make themselves look huge”

I knew there would be a lot of passionate defenders of swans, but we can’t base our management policies just on the aesthetics of a bird when it has such negative impacts,” said Bryan Swift, the conservation agency’s statewide waterfowl specialist."
Few knew about the proposal to eradicate mute swans. Those who did expressed shock and drew an analogy with New York’s immigrant population.

“If they were born here, they should be considered native by now,” said Michael Vangi of Bayside, Queens, whose father was born in Italy and who stopped near the bay for lunch. A co-worker, Joseph LoRe, agreed. “I’m not an environmentalist, but that seems kind of messed up,” he said, referring to the extermination plan. “Is that how we treat immigrants?”
NYT / Region - Click read more below for a 'Raising Mute Swans' video

Dunham's nudity on 'Girls'

"At a Television Critics Association panel for Girls on Thursday, a writer for The Wrap asked the show’s creator and star, Lena Dunham, why she insists on appearing naked so often on the show. “I don’t get the purpose of all the nudity on the show. By you, particularly,” the writer, Tim Molloy, said to Dunham. “I feel like I’m walking into a trap where you say no one complains about the nudity on Game of Thrones, but I get why they’re doing it. They’re doing it to be salacious. To titillate people. And your character is often naked at random times for no reason.”
Dunham, likely bored by the subject which has been raised again and again since the show’s first season, brushed him off by saying her aim was realism. “It’s a realistic expression of what it’s like to be alive,” she said. “If you’re not into me, that’s your problem.” Judd Apatow, who executive produces the show along with Dunham, took a harsher stance, later accusing the journalist of asking a question that was not only “sexist and offensive, it’s misogynistic.”
But Molloy was still confused, going on to write a post about the panel where he again noted his confusion over why Dunham’s character frequently appeared naked. “I don’t like it or not like it,” he wrote. “I just don’t get the artistic reason for it, and want to understand it, because I’m a TV critic.”"

'Lawsuit claims Eli Manning, NY Giants scammed fans with bogus 'game-worn' gear'

"Included in the lawsuit is a 2008 e-mail exchange between Inselberg and Joe Skiba, in which Skiba appears to acknowledge he created fake game-worn gear at Manning’s request."
“Hey Joe, my buddy was offered an eli game used helmet and jersey. Are these the bs ones eli asked you to make up because he didnt want to give up the real stuff?” Inselberg writes in the exchange.

Skiba — replying from account “” — writes, “BS ones, you are correct…”
I had a hard time deciding whether to title this post Trooper's LamentEli must die or The NY Giants suck!, they are all that good. In the end, I decided to go with the real one from the NY Post.


Where charm has its limits. 

Share something cute your kid once said. When my daughter was about eight, she said, "I'll be ready in a gypsy."

Michael Grimm

Earlier I thought Michael Grimm Republican representative for New York was Democrat. Assumed it by the place and by the description, and was wrong about that. This brutish behavior is the first that I know of him although I see I should have known him earlier than this. I wanted to see what he looks like and notice there is a another person with the same name.

Another Michael Grimm whose public behavior is not brutish, not psychotic (break you in two and throw you over the balcony, not that). The opposite of that. Tender, sympathetic, human, soulful.

I am cynically turned off by the hardship story. Character flaw. Anti-empathy response. Then he mentioned Katrina, and I'm all, "Please." Then, at the third video he said Katrina again and I have that same cynical anti-empathy response but he add, "That was the house I grew up in. Gone." 

Pow. Got me. Right in the solar plexus. 

That got me. How well I relate. Turn around and the whole thing is gone.

He did win the season. The award was one million dollars. Part of that did go to building his grandparent's a new house. It all worked out brilliantly. I found his story compelling. 

Let It Bleed

Brian Jones played maracas, oboe, alto saxophone, and harpsichord on that 1967 song. Shortly thereafter, things soured. Allegedly, the following exchange between Jagger and Jones occurred during the recording of "You Can't Always Get What You Want":

Jones meekly asked an agitated Jagger, "What can I play?" Jagger's terse response was 'I don't know, Brian, what can you play?'

A year later, Jones was dead. I'm looking for the source of that quote. I think it's in Keith Richards' "Life" however I can't word search it.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Chili Bowl Midget Nationals

The Chili Bowl Midget Nationals is a race held indoors in Tulsa every January, two weeks after Christmas.  For racers and fans, Chili Bowl is like a late gift from Santa.  It's racing's winter Super Bowl.  For many younger racers, Chili Bowl is an opportunity to be noticed by the owners of NASCAR teams and sponsors, with the hope and possibility of being signed to a development contract leading to a ride in the big game.

The drivers are young and old.  Some are as young as 16, others like Sammy Swindell are in their 60s, having raced all of their lives.   Faces in the pits include current NASCAR drivers who own racing teams that run at the Chili Bowl.  You'll see glimpses of Tony Stewart and Kasey Kahne in the race video.  They love this form of racing and invest money and time supporting it.

More than 200 racers compete.  The racing covers five nights, with the main feature on Saturday night in which winners of the other night's races compete for the top prize money and trophy.

The cars are called Midgets because of their small size and very light weight.  They have a 72 inch wheelbase and a highly modified four cylinder engine producing 350-450 horsepower in a 1200 pound car.  The cars are very unstable and need a full roll cage with side protection and a secondary cage around the driver.  There are no unnecessary pieces on the car. No clutch, no starter, no battery. The cars are push started.  The transmission is a one-gear affair, and the car is either in gear or not in gear. The driver sits in a custom fitted seat, strapped in by a seat belt harness and shoulder belts.  The drive also wears leg and arm belts to control the travel of legs and arms in the event of a rollover.

The cars are designed to turn left, as fast as the run down the straightaways. The rear tire diameters are staggered to make the cars turn left.  There is no left front brake for the same reason.  The cars are steered as much with the throttle as with the steering wheel.  And they are powerful - the front wheels lift off the track under hard acceleration.

Here's a very well done video of this year's race.  I hope you enjoy it.  Tickets for next year's race go on sale in March and will sell out quickly.

Chili Bowl 2014 from Tim Truex on Vimeo.


"Traffic apocalypse: Snow in the southeast leaves commuters, schoolkids stranded all day on the roads"

"And by “all day,” I mean 18 hours or more. Some people were out there overnight. The lucky ones were close enough to a Home Depot or supermarket that they simply pulled over, walked to the store, and slept in the aisles."

Hot Air

UPDATE: 13 Examples Of People Being Awesome In The Middle Of The Atlanta Traffic Jam
(If Atlanta was anywhere near California, you know Bags would have been there helping out)

Via Instapundit

Duck Dynasty's ratings decline...

...even though Phil Robertson's suspension was temporary, and he did not miss any filming of the new season:

"There were high expectations for season premiere on January 15th after the weeks of free publicity the show received due to Robertson’s comments about homosexuality and the subsequent, short-lived “suspension” he was given by A&E. But the notion that an even larger Christian conservative audience would flock to the show in support of Robertson was dispelled after the first episode of the season on Wednesday, January 15th drew 8.5 million viewers, a 28% drop from the fourth season premiere last August, which had 11.8 million. It was more on par with the third season premiere in February 2013, which had 8.6 million.

This week’s episode, with 6.6 million viewers, marked another large drop from the second episode of the fourth season, which had 8.5 million viewers. In the 18-49 demographic that is particularly attractive the advertisers, the show also saw a decline. While last season’s premiere had a 5.0 rating, this week’s episode was just 2.9. That put it below network competition like American Idol (4.5) and Modern Family(3.4)."

This is puzzling. Even if the number of viewers didn't increase, such a drastic drop means many loyal viewers aren't watching. Any guesses as to why? I have a notion but I'd like to hear yours first. 

“Let me be clear to you: You ever do that to me again, I’ll throw you off this f------ balcony,”

Rep. Michael Grimm of New York, under investigation for alleged campaign finance improprieties, threatened to throw a reporter off a balcony during an interview following President Obama’s State of the Union speech Tuesday night.
After a brief back-and-forth about the validity of the question, Grimm concluded, “No, no, you’re not man enough, you’re not man enough. I’ll break you in half. Like a boy.”

Both NY1 and Grimm’s office released statements following the incident.

“I was extremely annoyed because I was doing NY1 a favor by rushing to do their interview first in lieu of several other requests,” New York City’s lone Republican congressman said in a statement.

Grimm continued, “I verbally took the reporter to task and told him off, because I expect a certain level of professionalism and respect, especially when I go out of my way to do that reporter a favor. I doubt that I am the first Member of Congress to tell off a reporter, and I am sure I won’t be the last.”
N.Y. Rep. Grimm Threatens Reporter on Camera


Where we make up to break up.


Ella Enchanted

Moms and dads of a certain age, what is your favorite kids' movie or feature-length cartoon you used to watch with your children...over and over again. Mine is Don Bluth's Thumbelina.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

First Drudge and now the professor.

"And no one will remember it!"

Psssst....Anyone Wanna Buy A Fiddle?

It's not as good as the one Charlie Daniels plays, I'm pretty sure, but maybe one of your kids is taking lessons or something.....

It is described as being possibly priceless.

Here's a better Link.

Help Wanted - Insider Threat Analyst Job

Location:  Washington D.C., US

Insider Threat Analyst - 01155488

Key Role:
Work with government and commercial organizations to develop and implement insider threat program solutions.  Apply knowledge of cyber, counterintelligence, security and information assurance to support baseline functional standards to facilitate the development and refinement of insider threat programs at the enterprise level.  Develop and use assessment methodologies to identify risks and recommend threat countermeasures.

Applicants selected will be subject to a security investigation and may need to meet eligibility requirements for access to classified information.  TS/SCI clearance with polygraph is required.

This is the job you've been waiting for, isn't it?  No more pecking away at blog comments here and there, this is the real deal, the opportunity to use your mad skillz.  And you are Jack Ryan or MacGyver or Mitch Rapp.

It's time for you to come in from the cold and search for insider threats.

Contact Booz Allen for more information.

"Draft: Translation as a Performing Art"

"I compare it to walking down a highway, if ordinary reading is driving at 60 m.p.h. And it seems, sometimes, when you’re translating, measuring, and recreating everything you read in another language, as if you can actually leave the highway and walk off into the landscape. Walk around the trees and buildings and see what’s on the other side, how they’re constructed."

"People talk about untranslatable words, but in a way, there’s no such thing. It may take three words, or an entire sentence, or even an interpolated paragraph, but any word can be translated. Short of swelling a book into an encyclopedia, however, there is no way of dealing with the larger problem: untranslatable worlds."

"In an interview with The Paris Review, Bill said something very fine: he explained that as a professor at Bard, he was sometimes asked what other departments his classes could be cross-referenced to, and he suggested performing arts. After all, a translation is a performance (whether in another medium or another language) of a written text."

Overheard: AllenS

"Did Allen ever solve his slushy exhaust pipe problem?"

Un po' di Galateo

Galateo: The Rules of Polite Behavior (Il Galateo, overo de 'costume) by Giovanni Della Casa (1503–56) was published in Venice in 1558. A lively guide to what one should do and avoid in ordinary social life, this influential courtesy book of the Renaissance explores subjects such as dress, table manners, and conversation. It became so popular that the title, which refers to the name of one of the author’s distinguished friends, entered into the Italian language. To “not know the Galateo” means to be impolite, crude, and awkward in polite society. link
I often "forget my Galateo." Here is Galateo on puns and word play:
Jingling Puns 
     You will meet also with some people, who, for every word that is spoken, have some other word, without any meaning, ready at hand, by way of jingle; others, who will change the syllables of a word in a trifling, foolish manner; others will speak or answer in a different manner from what we expected; and that without any wit or beauty of thought, as, 
'Where is my Lord?' -- [In his clothes, unless he is bathing or in bed]. 
'How does this wine taste?' -- [A little moist, I think]. 
'How is this dish to be eaten?' -- [With your mouth and the like].
   All which kinds of wit (as you will easily apprehend) are low and vulgar. But to discourse what kinds of wit are most elegant and genteel, is no part of my present design; for this has been done already and very copiously, by men far my superiors in learning and ingenuity. Besides, as all true wit affords immediately sufficient and certain testimony of its own grace and elegance, you can very rarely err in this respect, unless you are blinded by an immoderate degree of self-partiality: For whenever a jest is really facetious and elegant, there immediately arises an appearance of mirth and laughter, joined with no common degree of admiration.
    If, therefore, your witticisms are not instantly approved by the laugh of the company,* for Heaven's sake, do not attempt to be witty for the future, for you may take it for granted, the defect is in yourself, and not in your audience. For the hearers, being immediately stricken with a ready, genteel, and delicate repartee or bon mot, cannot possibly forbear laughing, though ever so desirous, but must necessarily laugh, though against their will. 

Ezra is hiring

"Project X (working title) is a user's guide to the news produced by the beat reporters and subject area experts who know it best.

We'll have regular coverage of everything from tax policy to True Detective, but instead of letting that reporting gather dust in an archive, we'll use it to build and continuously update a comprehensive set of explainers of the topics we cover. We want to create the single best resources for news consumers anywhere.

We'll need writers who are obsessively knowledgeable about their subjects to do that reporting and write those explainers -- as well as ambitious feature pieces. We'll need D3 hackers and other data viz geniuses who can explain the news in ways words can't. We'll need video producers who can make a two-minute cartoon that summarizes the Volcker rule perfectly. We'll need coders and designers who can build the world's first hybrid news site/encyclopedia. And we'll need people who want to join Vox's great creative team because they believe in making ads so beautiful that our readers actually come back for them too. 

Sound like you? Then apply now.

Job location: Vox Headquarters, Washington, DC. "

Ezra Klein has signed with Vox Media. Based on the negotiations with the Washington Post, which did not pan out, it is speculated that he "plans to hire at least three-dozen editorial staffers at the new venture."

"The Explainer Question of the Year"

"Thousands of you (Slate readers) sifted through the topics that this column was unable to address in 2013—a list of matters of minuscule importance, such as why venison is not usually made into soup, and when people started drinking beverages through straws. But these were just the also-rans. What were the runners-up?"
In third place, with 8.1 percent of the votes, a question of meteorological anthropology: What did Native Americans think of tornadoes? This would have been a tricky one to answer, as some American Indians seemed to view them as a cleansing while others called them punishment.

In second place, with 8.7 percent, some cross-cultural lexicography: I love palindromes (“A man, a plan, a canal—Panama!”) but I’ve always had an English-centric view of them. What are some palindromes in other languages? What’s the easiest language for palindromes? Another question that doesn’t have an easy answer. As they say in Iceland, Amma sá Afa káfa af ákafa á Samma—“Grandma saw Grandpa enthusiastically groping Sammy.” Let’s leave it at that.

And in first place by a wide margin, with 12.3 percent of the votes, our Explainer Question of the Year for 2013: Countless times in TV shows or movies, characters urge a wounded figure to stay with them, not to lose consciousness. Is there any medical basis for this? Doesn’t the body need to lose consciousness to cope with the emergency? Might these dramatic and good-hearted souls actually hasten the wounded character’s death?
Stay With Me!

Do you have any of these sorts of questions? Do you want to share them? Maybe somebody will pop in with an interesting answer. More interesting than the answers on 'Media Day'


Where love means never having to say you're sorry.

If someone calls you a clown, what should you call them back?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Stuck (Open Thread)

“The best scenario is a baby in nine months”

"A woman is on course to become the first in the world to give birth from a transplanted womb, after doctors successfully introduced an embryo into her body."
The embryo was transferred last week, months after the unidentified woman, who has a genetic condition that means she was born without a womb, became one of nine to receive pioneering transplants last year.

The transplanted womb was donated by the woman’s mother, so a baby would also be the first born to a woman using the same womb from which she emerged herself.

The egg from which the embryo was grown was the woman’s own.

“When I read about it I cried for many hours,” said Sandra Boine, a 26-year-old Norwegian sales assistant with the condition.

She believes a hospital in her home country may eventually be willing to perform a similar operation.

“It means a lot because I’ve now got a chance to make a child on my own. There’s hope for us now.” She said that her mother and sister had each offered to donate their womb to her, if the Swedish procedure proved successful. 
Eight of the recipients suffer from MRKH syndrome, a congenital disorder which affects one in 5,000 women and prevents the womb from developing.
In the comments Really?Really!Really said ...
Are you kidding. This has already been done. A no-nothing from Chicago's womb of corruption has been transplanted into the corrupted womb of DC…

Irish Democracy

In an opinion piece in yesterday's USA Today, Glenn Reynolds quotes from Two Cheers for Anarchism, by Professor James Scott:

""One need not have an actual conspiracy to achieve the practical effects of a conspiracy. More regimes have been brought, piecemeal, to their knees by what was once called 'Irish Democracy,' the silent, dogged resistance, withdrawal, and truculence of millions of ordinary people, than by revolutionary vanguards or rioting mobs."

...And, as it turns out, most of the people signing up for Obamacare aren't the uninsured for whom it was supposedly enacted, but people who were previously insured (many of whom lost their previous insurance because of Obamacare's new requirements). "At most," writes Bloomberg's Megan McArdle, "they've signed up 15% of the uninsured that they were expecting to enroll. ... Where are the uninsured? Did hardly any of them want coverage beginning Jan. 1?" It looks that way.

If the program fails, it won't be because Republicans stopped it, despite all the House votes and defunding efforts. It will be because millions of Americans' passive resistance brought it to its knees. Irish Democracy, indeed.

...So, despite all the federal laws on the books, Colorado has de facto nullified them, and started a process that may very well snowball, all without directly attacking the federal laws, or the federal government, at all. Meanwhile, millions of Americans may be in the process of effectively killing Obamacare simply by staying home.As we struggle, mostly in vain, to rein in the metastasizing power of a federal government that has grown out of control, perhaps Irish Democracy offers a solution. Sometimes it seems like that's the only kind of democracy that's likely to make a difference."


“It looks like someone is doing paint by number.”

"Watch out, George W. Bush. Another man has joined the former president atop the list of America’s most beguiling painters: George Zimmerman. Art world watchers are not amused."

“Angie” is not the first time Zimmerman has picked up a brush. In December, the former neighborhood watchman sold a blue, latex paint illustration of the American flag with the text “God One Nation with Liberty and Justice For All” for $100,099.99 on the auction site eBay.
“It’s very primitive,” said Jason Edward Kaufman, a contributing editor at Art+Auction, about Zimmerman’s work, “the sort of thing an art critic wouldn’t look at twice.”

While the American flag painting may look like a military ad or a patriotic poster, “Angie” looks like a “bloodbath,” Kaufman said.

“They’re just kind of so appalling that you hate to make comparisons,” said Andrew Russeth, art critic for the New York Observer, when asked to place Zimmerman’s painting in the context of a particular artistic movement. “It looks like someone is doing paint by number.”

Russeth panned the paintings as “a desperate cry for attention.”

“People like George Zimmerman and George W. Bush who don’t seem to be able to make their cases in other ways kind of see art as a field in which they can redeem themselves,” he added.
George Zimmerman’s Paintings: A Critical Appraisal

UPDATE: The Associated Press has demanded that George Zimmerman halt the sale of one of his paintings because the news agency says it directly copies an AP photo.

“It’s tea, not coffee, you know.”

“My dress, my dress, my dress, my dress!” she repeated, grabbing on to the ends of her expensive-looking, body-hugging white dress. A thick, brownish liquid formed an egg-shaped stain, dripping off the end of the cloth. A pool formed there, the liquid encompassing her white high-heeled shoes, staining them likewise. Next to her stood a tall man, unmoving man, holding a tilted cup, empty but still dripping with the last of his beverage.
Then, the woman turned into a tornado of fury and brown stain.

“WHY THE [expletive deleted] WEREN’T YOU CAREFUL WITH YOUR [expletive deleted] COFFEE? THIS IS A [expletive deleted] TRAIN! YOU KNOW TO HOLD IT BETTER THAN THAT! I HAVE A [expletive deleted] INTERVIEW, YOU [expletive deleted] KNOW!” she wails.

As the brakes started to squeal and the train entered 79th Street, the tall man smugly motioned to get off the train.
A Spilled Cup on the No. 1 Train

"Video: Oklahoma proposing to “ban” all marriages?" - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports | Via HotAir

Planet Baggage

New York Times magazine needs help with their Photoshop so I volunteered.

There is a galaxy of scandals depending on how nit-picky you are about it. Listing them means grading them by importance and grading a politicians scandals by importance makes one look and sound like a ruminating drunk, a political crackpot.

That works in reverse too. Mention one scintilla of support for political dynastically-minded family and at this point you self-identify as malevolent political crackpot.